Living With The Enemy

Thought I’d divorced myself from
indifference, recovered from abject
betrayal, but; here I am, co-habiting
with deceit again, occupying uneven
ground, reduced to questioning
motives and reactions.

I’ve been down this road before,
dragged through the shame of
behind my back whispers – need
to confront the perpetrator,
and any co-conspirators, stop
the home-wrecker before she
strikes again, convince them all

that this is not self-perpetuated,
but a sham, and a crime, and
that my heart is breaking here,
and damn it; I deserve better, but
as I said, I am living with the enemy
residing in this single story, one-body
hell, and I’m not sure if I can take any
more self-destructive examinations –
pretty sure one of us is about to
implode, and then what?


Business Venture

Victim, whose season is always Autumn,
bloodied tears like fallen leaves trailing;
and Martyr, for whom worship and self-
sacrifice is a dietary requirement; propose
to venture into retail ownership – recreating

a former failed attempt; believing that if
you build it (again) they will come, as Ego
has promised.  “Well, it worked for that
Kevin guy,” Victim agrees; Martyr’s eyes
shine with adoration and eager anticipation.

Spirit says:  Let it rest.  Leave the past
where it belongs; there is a time for
everything and with patience your
future will reveal itself.  No need to
grasp; learn from failure and move on.

But Victim is headstrong, has something
to prove, believes her finest moments
are in the past, is certain she can change
it all if given another a chance, and Martyr
well, she goes along willingly, has faith…

They’ll serve the public, create a niche
that no one can ignore, save the world
with each item they sell, market health
and cure-alls, and invite miracles to
grace their square footage and forget

about reality, and bills, and licenses –
refuse to let overheads dictate downfalls,
convinced they are divinely guided,see
evidence in the motley crowds drawn
to their recycled vision, scheme to find

a new location, mooch off the unsuspecting;
Victim swearing not to repeat old patterns,
Martyr offering up her life, her family, to save
the dream – It will be okay, Ego says; It will be
Victim echoes; It will be okay, Martyr beams.

Spirit emits a silent sigh, has watched this
carousel ride for some time now, has a strong
inclination as to where this road will end, yet
knows that lessons can only be offered, and
perspective only gained through release.



Self-Sabotage Perhaps?

 Proficient at goodbyes; specialize in endings;
excel at vacation relationships;
protest conformity –
can never see the value in how another does things –
pain in the neck; prefer to drive (although currently unable);
can cooperate, facilitate, bend my perspective
to fit in – graduate of the school of con –
am unfaithful to those ties that could propel me
forward; escape at every opportunity;
see predators in possible allies, view deficits
as insurmountable, take risks as long as
they don’t involve real change;
would remain underground,
if not so compelled to ignore limits;
the wear and tear on my body just blips
now navigating emotional waters,
looking to land.


Day 201 “Mental Balance”

I am travelling in the South with my son and one of his friends. We stop at a roadside restaurant and after being seated and ordering drinks, realize there is nothing that I can eat, so we decide to leave. John and his friend go to get the car while I settle up with the waitress. I spend a bit too much time talking and explaining and when I emerge from the restaurant, John, friend, and car are gone. My son has grown impatient with me and moved on. I am in a state of disbelief, rage, and then deep concern for my baby.

When I wake up, I can’t shake the emotions. Usually I dream that it is Thor that abandons me, but now it is my son? Obviously the dream is about more than being abandoned by my loved ones. So what does it mean?

I think back over my day leading up to the dream. Even though my new regimen requires that I sandwich exertion between periods of rest, I decided yesterday to proceed as if I wasn’t sick. I rolled from one activity into another and ignored the growing state of dis-ease. I pushed through, without pacing myself.

I’d always thought my abandonment dreams about Thor were related to his illness and my fear of losing him. John is a steady and loyal son, and never gives me reason to fear. Clearly the dream source is trying to tell me to revisit this particular theme. Who is abandoning whom? What if the dream is telling me that a part of me is neglecting another part of me? What part of self does Thor and my son represent? What part of me is always left feeling angry and forgotten?

John is typically patient and compassionate with me. He loves me like a son loves a mother: wholeheartedly. He laughs at my foibles, and shares with me his concerns. It would be totally out of character for him to drive away and leave me stranded in some strange, isolated place. So what part of me that is typically patient and compassionate, left me out in the cold yesterday? That is easy. It was the part that makes sure I am setting boundaries and taking care of myself. That part was definitely missing in action! I even went to Costco, even though I was overextended before I left the house, and walked the store despite my immediate recognition that all systems were overtaxed by the crowds and overabundance of stimuli. Then I came home and ignored my need to retreat into restful silence and chose to socialize with my family, staying out of bed for the remainder of the evening. I was like a pouting two and a half-old-year refusing to go for a nap even though I was well past my limitations.

Another idea starts taking shape in my mind. There is something else that I have been ignoring, and “leaving behind”. It is my creative self. I spent the greater part of the weekend in Toronto visiting Ester and her family. As I usually do, I packed a notebook for writing and my ipad, and while I had several inspiring thoughts, I did not stop to jot them down. Not even on the train ride home, when I had more than ample opportunity. My mind was so ripe with creativity that I lay awake for hours last night, despite my fatigue, replaying my storylines, and still I did not venture to record it.

“I know what the abandonment dreams are about,” I tell Thor. “It is about the many ways I sabotage my writing. It is my writer self that is so disappointed, enraged, and heart-broken.”

“You have always wanted to write,” Thor agrees. “And I can’t imagine that writing takes too much energy in comparison with everything else. Wouldn’t it actually recharge you?”

I cannot argue with him. So why do I deprive myself so? Why have I been unable to commit to this innate, and eternal passion of mine?

Derek Linn suggests that in order to manifest we need mental balance: a state of harmony between the outer ego self and the inner wounded self (my words). The ego thrives on accomplishment, but the inner sense of unworthiness sabotages by pulling back. I have long recognized in myself the ability to be brave and courageous when what I stand to lose has little value, but highly resistant to put myself out there when the outcome means the world to me.

Writing, being a writer, means the world to me. To write, and be published, and acknowledged would be the ultimate life accomplishment. It feels so risky, so vulnerable, so potentially disastrous that there is no wonder I abandon it time and again; writing anonymous blogs, like taking that part of me on a trip, and then leaving it there – somewhere far away from home – where it can’t hurt me.

I love my writer self. I adore her with all the emotion of a tender spouse or loving child, but I just can’t seem to make that commitment. So I leave her behind, telling myself that one day I will give her what she needs – make her a priority.

And in the meantime, she wanders the unfamiliar corridors of my mind, alone on the dark streets of my fearful psyche, wondering what she has done to be so blatantly ostracized: abandoned and deeply pained.

Day 169 “Intention and Results”

Every so often, life has a way of taking over, and sending me spinning off balance.  These are the times where I reset goals in an attempt to regain equilibrium.

Now would be one of those times.

So I take inventory and line up my priorities once again:

1.  To work 90 minutes per day.  (Even though I am still technically on holidays, a teacher’s workload is intense, so I can always work.  Here, I am trying to minimize it so it doesn’t take over.)

2.  To spend 60 minutes per day writing.  ( I see writing as a luxury because I do it mostly for self-serving reasons, therefore; I tend to undervalue it and it is the first to go.)

3.  30 minutes of exercise per day.

4.  Choosing to eat healthy foods that support my well-being.

Number four is the clincher.  I have some food allergies and a lot of sensitivities, so eating properly becomes really important for my health.  Why then, is this goal so difficult to keep?

The intent is good, but what is it about food that makes it so difficult to control?  If I had the answer, I would be rich, especially in this age of health and weight consciousness.

Yesterday, for example, I ate a healthy breakfast, and an equally satisfying lunch, and had planned my dinner ahead of time.  I ended up being out longer than I expected, and felt the temptation to grab something “snackish” to fill in the gap, but I managed to hang on till dinner.  Then the cravings started.  I wanted something sweet to compliment dinner – a habit that dates back to childhood.  So I ate the remainder of a chocolate loaf.  I didn’t stop there.  I had an errand to run and thought about stopping to pick up a chai tea latte, overlooking the fact that I had eaten dessert.  I talked to myself about my goal, and settled on coming home and making a low-fat latte.  I enjoyed my treat, and felt sated, but then remembered that there were potato chips in the cupboard.  I convinced myself that a bowl of chips was better than eating from the bag, but of course, I wanted more.  I was far from hungry at this point.

The resulting indigestion and inability to settle down for a good night’s sleep was not a new experience.  Neither was telling myself that I won’t do that again!

The results speak for themselves.  As much as I want to think I am conscientious about what I eat, I remain overweight.

What is the food replacing? I ask myself.  What function is it serving?

A number of things come to mind.  First, I am an emotional eater.  I eat when I am upset, but I also eat when I am happy, especially if I have accomplished something and am proud of myself, such as keeping on track for an entire day.  It is easy to see where this habit derives from by watching my grandchildren.  Food is an easy way to console and celebrate.  I have no doubt that is how my mother handled me.

Sometimes I eat to suppress needs.  Now this is getting personal, but because of Thor’s condition, there has been no sexual intimacy for some time, yet the urge remains for me.  Potato chips have been my go to food when feeling lonely for a long time.  I know it, but still go there.

Overeating creates a cycle that is difficult to break.  I feel good about myself, I self sabotage, I eat junk, I feel bad and indulge more.

There is also the problem I wrote about the other day:  instant gratification vs long-term gain.

I have no self-control in the instant.  If there are no chips in the house, I can usually talk myself out of the need for them, but if they are on hand, I have no self-control.

Why is it so difficult to shift my focus to long-term gain?  Herein lies the complication.   In order to be able to commit to something in the distance, I have to be able to believe in the future.  (Boy, this is tough stuff!)  Truth is I stopped believing in the future a long time ago.  I have chosen, instead, to live for the moment.  That way, I have convinced myself, I won’t have as many disappointments.

As a child of parents who were never able to follow through with promises, I first learned the pain of disappointment, but it didn’t end when I left home.  I chose partners and built relationships that repeated the pattern.  And then I took over.  I proved again and again to myself that there is no gain in setting my sights on the future.  The future is too intangible and unpredictable.

What I failed to tell myself is that not all of the future is foreseeable or predictable, but planning ahead (in the moment) can help prepare the way.  Choosing not to eat those chips in each moment helps secure a healthier self in the long run.  Eating the chips, conversely, will ensure that my goal is never met.

If I ever hope to see results from my intentions, I will need a new, and responsible attitude.